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What Are the Different Ways to Make Tea?

Lumara Lee
Lumara Lee

People have been drinking tea for centuries, and some cultures have developed tea ceremonies to make tea. Countries that perform tea ceremonies include Great Britain, Russia, Japan, and China. The most common method used to make tea is to pour hot water over the tea leaves and let the mixture steep or brew for several minutes. Water is sometimes poured directly over the tea leaves, which must be strained from the water after brewing. Tea is often placed into paper sachets, cloth pouches, or small metal containers called tea balls so that it won’t have to be strained after it is brewed.

Some people make tea without using hot water. They first put the tea into a container and fill it with ambient temperature water. The container is then covered and set outside in the sun. Heat from the sun causes the flavor from the tea to infuse the water. Tea brewed this way is commonly known as sun tea.

Sugar cubes are used to sweeten tea.
Sugar cubes are used to sweeten tea.

Many people use a tea kettle for boiling the water to make tea, but Russians use a samovar. This is a metal urn with a spigot near the bottom and a small chimney on the top. The water inside a samovar is heated by a pipe filled with fuel that runs through the center of the urn. A teapot filled with water and tea leaves is placed on top of the samovar. The tea brews inside the teapot as heat rises from the samovar.

Loose leaf tea.
Loose leaf tea.

Tea brewed using a teapot on a samovar is concentrated, so Russians dilute the tea from the teapot by adding water from the samovar. It is common to make different teas in separate teapots and then mix them all together. The various teas represent different conditions, such as romance, prosperity, and health. It is believed that drinking these teas will imbue one with those qualities.

A cup of tea.
A cup of tea.

When the Japanese make tea during their traditional tea ceremonies, each movement is precise and occurs in a certain order. A whisk is used to mix the powdered tea into the water. The environment is simple, and the only ornamentation is usually flowers or calligraphy and the ceremonial utensils. Tea is served to guests in special bowls. The Japanese tea ceremony is considered an art form that may take many years for the host or hostess to perfect.

People in China like to drink pure tea without adding any other ingredients. In America and Great Britain, it is customary to make tea with milk and sugar. Some people use lemon to flavor their tea instead of milk.

Discussion Comments


Given the option, always go with fresh tea leaves for your tea. The tea will taste much better and the drink is much healthier. The less processing involved in getting the tea to the table the better it is for the person drinking it. Remember this if you are making herbal tea for medicinal benefits.


Whether you are making hot tea or iced tea, the more time you put into the brewing process the better it will taste. Just heating water and pouring it over tea bags or sinking a tea bag into a hot cup of water is not going to give you a drink anywhere near as good as a properly brewed container of tea where the tea is given time to release the flavors is going to give you. That's my opinion anyway.

Buying a good tea maker is a worthwhile investment for anyone who truly appreciates the taste of good tea. When we bought our tea maker I was surprised how much better the taste was.


When I read about the making of sun tea described in this article a lot of happy memories came back to me. When I was a little girl I would spend a good portion of my summer vacations at my grandparents' farm in the country. This was a great time for me and one of my favorite memories from those summers is of the days I would help my grandmother make sun tea.

The summer days were really hot, and we would put the big jars of water and tea on a big rock in the back yard in the morning before the temperatures had a chance to get too high. Then we would go get the big jars in the late afternoon or in the early evening. Either way, I would get glasses for all of us and fill them with ice, Then Grandmother would pour tea into the glasses. Those were great times, and that was the best iced tea I had ever tasted, and I have found nothing to match it since.

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    • Sugar cubes are used to sweeten tea.
      Sugar cubes are used to sweeten tea.
    • Loose leaf tea.
      By: svetamart
      Loose leaf tea.
    • A cup of tea.
      By: gtranquillity
      A cup of tea.
    • Tea bags.
      By: Shariff Che'Lah
      Tea bags.
    • Tea is often steeped in a teapot.
      By: aleksandra_1981
      Tea is often steeped in a teapot.
    • Tea can be prepared from a powdered mix.
      By: Orlando Bellini
      Tea can be prepared from a powdered mix.
    • The potent antioxidants in green tea may be more readily absorbed when the beverage is served hot.
      By: Fisher Photostudio
      The potent antioxidants in green tea may be more readily absorbed when the beverage is served hot.